Autumn is most popular times to walk around at Mt. Takao. With pleasant temperatures and clear air enable us to enjoy seeing skyscrapers of central Tokyo and mountains in the distance including Mt. Fuji.
On November 5th Saturday, we held hiking tour participating 10 JICA members from several countries, 9 Tengu members and a membership applicant gathered at square of Takaosan-guchi station. A total of 20 people met up at 9:10am and had introductions everyone of them. After then we split into 2 groups and started Mt. Takao hiking tour under a little bit cloudy sky. Among more visitors than usual we had to be cautious not to be lost. We walked by the statue of young Buddhist monk with a broom “Osoji Kozo” explaining the Garbage Clean-up Activities of these 40 years. At the statue of Japanese giant flying squirrel as well. We took a cable car to Mount Takao Station located halfway up to the top. Then proceeded along trail no-1 guiding at observation deck, monkey park, wild plant garden, octopus cedar tree, the wildlife of this area, Joshinmon gate, jinben-do shrine, the stone monument of no killings, the strata of Mount Takao and 108 steps of men’s slope.
At the Yuki-en, literally, Joyful Garden, we did not meet many people. Leaves of trees were beginning to change to colored ones. The white structure on the above photo is a stupa where the remains of Buddha, founder of Buddhism, enshrined. The ashes of Buddha were given to Scout Association in 1931 by the King of Thailand in token of friendship between Thailand and Japan. On the approach to Yakuo-in Temple, at right-hand side are plaque plates, on each of those contributor’s name being written. Through Shitenno-mon gate, there are Six Sense Purification Stone Wheel, Tengu statues, Eight Dragon Kings Hall, Kurikara-do Hall, and Wish Coming True Ring.
There is Nio-mon gate in front of main hall, Nio, literally, Two Heavenly Kings stand on either side to protect the Yakuo-in temple. The main hall was constructed in the early 20th century. Inside this hall, Healing Buddha, principal image, is enshrined. Here in main hall “Goma Fire Ritual” is held 6 times every day at 5:30 (Spring to Autumn) or 6:00 followed by 9:30,11:00,12:30、2:00 and 3:30. From the stairs to Izuna Gongen-do hall, we saw red Japanese maple leaves next to torii gate. Izuna Gongen-do Hall is made open to the visitors on 21st of every month and sacred Japanese sake wine offered.
We arrived at top of Mt. Takao until 12:30. Unfortunately we could not see Mt. Fuji because of clouds. Many people obstructed us to eat lunch together. After lunch at 1:15 we departed to going down taking trail no-4. Many participants enjoyed fresh air and mountain trail including suspension bridge.
We took chairlift for down to the foot. It is also exciting experience riding 16minutes with panoramic view. Before 3pm we safely finished this tour. It is seemed for all to be a fun and great day.（Comson）